Thousands of pets are separated from their owners each year, and many end up languishing in shelters or on the streets. If a stray arrives at your home, or you spot one that could be in danger, you can take steps to help. According to the Humane Society, here’s what to do when you find a stray.

Abandoned, sad, homeless stray dog laying on the street

Capture With Care

A dog or cat that is clearly lost needs help. If the animal is friendly, you may be able to capture it. If you can do so safely you can proceed – if the animal is in any way aggressive, you should note the location and contact animal control. Even if you suspect the animal is a stray, stepping in can prevent him from being injured and ensure he has a chance to find a good home.

Hopefully, the stray is wearing a collar with ID. An ID tag can reveal the owner’s name and address, making it easy to return the pet to his home.

Have Him Scanned

Bring the pet in for scanning; many pets are now microchipped and can be reunited with owners simply by scanning the animal. The scanner works like the one in the grocery store, and if the pet has a chip, it can painlessly and swiftly get the owner’s registration number.

46082368 - veterinarian checking microchip of cat in vet clinic

Quarantine the Animal

If you have pets of your own, keep them away from the new arrival. Even if the animal is friendly, he or she could have an illness that could be transferred to your own animals.

Call the Shelter

Your local animal rescue or shelter will have additional resources. Depending on the type of animal you have found, there could be breed or species-specific organizations that can help you reunite the pet with his or her owners and provide any needed medical treatment, too.

Stepping in when you find a lost pet can prevent him from being injured and make it easier for him to be reunited with his family. People missing a beloved pet are often looking everywhere for him, checking shelters and even social media sites like Facebook, so chances are his family is on high alert seeking him out. The steps above will allow you to assist and ensure that found animal finds his way to his true home.

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